By joe gorman
After adding seven officers in July, the police department will bring on more officers.
Interviews will begin shortly to add three more officers to the force, Chief Rod Foley said this week .
In September, Foley said he wanted to add more officers to keep the department at 152, the minimum number at which he can operate effectively, he said.
The seven hires in July and the new officers this month will help offset a wave of retirements over the past couple of years.
Foley said the administration has told him finances are available in this year’s budget to hire at least three more officers.
Since he became chief in September 2011, the department has added 24 officers. That number will climb to 27 with this month’s hires.
Foley said he likes the mix that new officers bring to the force, often because of their energy.
“They’re very aggressive and proactive,” Foley said.
He said he did not want to bring in a large number at one time but wanted to add them gradually. All new officers are teamed with a veteran officer known as a “Field Training Officer,” and they ride with an FTO on all three shifts before being deemed ready to patrol on their own. That process typically takes three to four months.
The department also is in the midst of studying its patrol beats and perhaps shifting boundaries or cars because of rising call rates on the West Side and the Brownlee Woods area of the South Side.
Foley said he wants to hold off on implementing any of those plans until the new officers can be brought on and acclimated to patrol duties.
Besides the seven officers added in July, two officers were hired in October 2012, nine officers were added in May 2012 and six in November 2011, shortly after Foley became chief.